The Alpha Centauri system is the nearest neighbor of Sol. It consists of two stars in an eighty-year orbit, accompanied by a red dwarf and an outer shell of comets. Foreign ships are permitted to traverse the system only through a narrow flight corridor between the jump point and Centauri. Although only Centauri has a significant permanent population, the system contains a dense network of satellites and probes. The Freehold government has never issued a statement regarding whether it has dismantled the Ri'Kammi-inspired weapons platforms.
The designation Alpha Centauri refers to the fact that this cluster of three stars was the brightest point in the Terran constellation of the Centaur.
Alpha Centauri A, which provides Centauri with day and night, is a yellow-orange star very similar to Sol but half again as bright. It illuminates the Centauran homeworld from a distance more than three times the orbital distance of Earth, and so appears more as a point than a disc.
Fast is a tiny rocky planet tidally locked into close orbit with Illumination. It is ideally situated for automated solar observatories, but because of volcanic activity, it has not sees significant utilization of its mineral resources.
Slow is likewise small, rocky, airless, and far too hot for life. In 11338 BCE it became the first other planet from which minerals were shipped to Centauri. Automated mining has since partially depleted the surface of silicon, carbon, and oxygen.
The Centauran homeworld is a rocky world slightly smaller than Earth but having no free water. Weather in the CO2-N2 atmosphere is generally mild, remaining near -120°F (-84°C). Tectonic activity is almost nonexistant, taking place only under strict artificial control. Nearly all of the planetary crust is inhabited or otherwise in use.
The orbit of Alpha Centauri B provides weak 'seasons' to Centauri as it passes slightly closer every forty (Terran) years. Timekeeper's star has no major planet, but a number of minor ones within a dense asteroid field. A megascale array of solar power collectors encircling the star was completed in 3003.
Shadow is a small gas giant colored with red, brown, and white bands. Its name is derived from the partial occlusions of Glacier's light as seen from Centauri.